This blog was co-written by Reg Wulff and Doreen Bond
You know, it wasn't that long ago that things were a lot different when it came to where a person can smoke. I can remember when smoking was allowed anywhere and anytime. It wasn't considered hazardous to light up cigarettes in cars with children, in the office, or at a restaurant. You could even smoke on Northern Health property back in the day.However, things have changed and now we recognize that a smoke free environment reduces many health risks for smokers and bystanders. Northern Health took action to create a smoke free environment by implementing a Smoke Free Grounds policy back in 2008. After a few years and a few tweaks (such as e-cigarettes and other vapour devices being included in the policy), Northern Health is rolling out a new and improved Smoke Free Grounds policy that will go into effect soon!
While some people might disagree with the idea of asking smokers to move off Northern Health property if they choose to smoke, the policy is supported by valid reasons:
The Smoke Free Grounds policy ...
- Helps people to avoid using tobacco altogether;
- Protects people from exposure to second-hand smoke;
- Augments and supports existing federal, provincial and municipal smoke free legislation; and
- Supports tobacco users who want to quit.
It doesn't matter whether you work for Northern Health, are a patient in-facility, or are visiting someone in the hospital. For the Smoke Free Grounds policy to be successful, everyone is going to have a role to play!
If you're a staff member
- Use Brief Intervention to identify tobacco users and address tobacco as a standard of care using the Nicotine Withdrawal Protocol and Registered Nurse Initiated Action.
- Be a role model and adhere to the Smoke Free Grounds policy.
- Use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products at work.
- Let your patients know about the policy and support them in using nicotine replacement therapy products to manage withdrawal symptoms.
- If you see someone smoking on Northern Health property, tell them about the policy. If you're unsure of how to approach someone and talk to them about smoking on Northern Health property, ask a tobacco reduction coordinator.
If you're a patient
- Respect and adhere to the policy.
- Ask your nurse about getting nicotine replacement therapy products while you're in-facility. You can get help to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
- Look at this as a chance to go without tobacco. When you discover that your health improves by not using tobacco, it might lead to you considering quitting altogether. It's also important to remember that by not using tobacco, you'll heal quicker and get home faster!
- If you do choose to use tobacco, remember that you need to leave Northern Health property to do so.
If you're a visitor or contractor working on Northern Health property
- Remember, the Smoke Free Grounds policy applied to everyone. Please respect and adhere to the policy.
At the end of the day, the Smoke Free Grounds policy is an important part of Northern Health's efforts to create a healthy space for everyone.
What will you do to support the policy and ensure its success?